IVCC not requiring COVID-19 vaccine, will soon decide on masks

74% of fall classes will return to in-person learning

Illinois Valley Community College will not require COVID-19 vaccinations for students, although the decision on whether masks will be required is yet to be made.

IVCC’s Vice President for Academic Affairs Deborah Anderson said there isn’t a practical way for the school to figure out who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t.

Guidance from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board states those who are unvaccinated should wear a mask and take extra precautions, such as social distancing, and both boards encourage colleges to require vaccinations for students.

“Right now, the official word is people who are vaccinated don’t need to wear a mask and people who have not been vaccinated should wear a mask and social distance,” Anderson said. “There isn’t a practical application to figure out who’s been vaccinated, and that starts to get confusing.”

IVCC’s current plan has 74% of its fall classes returning to traditional, in-person classes. The plan also includes the return of all student services. As a community college with campuses in Oglesby and Ottawa, IVCC has students commuting to class and courses with students of all ages.

Anderson said clearer guidance from the state giving a strict yes-or-no on guidelines would be helpful, but the school will continue to follow the guidelines by sanitizing public spaces and encouraging handwashing.

Students will have access to COVID-19 testing if they feel they need it and certain students, like student athletes, will be required to submit to COVID-19 testing to participate in their sport.

Anderson said there will be a vaccine clinic the first week of classes as well, to encourage as many students as possible to get vaccinated.

Northern Illinois University, Illinois State and the University of Illinois are all requiring students who are able to get the vaccine to get it, but other community colleges, such as Heartland Community College in Bloomington aren’t.

Sauk Valley Community College is requiring a weekly SHIELD COVID-19 test for anyone attending classes on campus who is not vaccinated.

The school’s current plan for COVID-19 mitigation is available on its website at ivcc.edu/covid19.